Just a Passerby
"This world is not my home."
I consider myself lucky or blessed for so many reasons. I can count and enumerate my blessings, but that's beside the point. My Dad was an "haciendero", a term assigned to a person who owns more than one hundred hectares of cultivated land, and who has at least twenty families living and working on his farm for him; and a rancher aside from his being a Church Minister, a Missionary, a Businessman, and a Professor.
In my childhood and before I was at age fifteen "exiled" to the Missionary School; my family, consisting of Dad, Mum, sister Leah, and brother Jun, spent at least one month summer vacation in the farm every year. Our farm was called Chile Valley, to honor Brother Raul Escobar from Chile.
He was the first Missionary of the International Missionary Society to come to the Philippines and who converted my Dad to become a Missionary himself. My Dad was one of the two pioneering Filipino missionaries under this organization.
The foreigner Missionaries such as Andrade, Pizzarro, Abraham, Nicolicci, Kozel, among others, frequented our beautiful farm and I grew up mingling with them. Being the eldest child, I was center of attention to my Dad's frequent visitors and colleagues; he bragged me to them, not that I was happy about that; I was made to recite three chapters of Bible verses to the missionaries, and a lot more show offs about me as presented by my Dad to his comrades. It is ironic that my Dad had properties but in our family worship hour done twice a day, every 5:00 to 6:00 a.m. and p.m., my Dad would lead us in singing "This world is not my home I am just passing by..." and also "I am a stranger here within a foreign land, my home is far away upon the golden strand; Ambassador to be in realms beyond the sea, I'm here on business for my King."
While I was far from home being in IMS (International Missionary Society) school, my Dad also started his "nomadic" life, tagging along my siblings and Mum as they were assigned to several places around the country as a missionary family. One of my Dad's favorite verses from the Bible which he often recited to us every worship time is "Those who cannot leave his land, house, family, in my name are not worthy of me...", I learned to hate this verse.
Because of this fanatic conversion of my Dad, he distributed his land to 30 poor families and left only a 6-hectare parcel of farm which he entrusted to his brother Tirso, who, himself had a forty-hectare farm of his own. He also sold our two houses in the city and donated the proceeds to the mission.
When I came home from the missionary school, I was met by a very different home life situation. Gone were the luxury, everything was plain.
"This too will pass."
That background of my life had long passed and I am in my "here and now".
The shoes I wore when I was six years old, even if it's still good and usable, I cannot wear them now that I am 57. We change along with the passing of time, not just physically but also intellectually, otherwise we will be intellectual "bonsai".
What I used to believe when I was 15 years old and was with my family is not what I believe now. We can change our belief system otherwise we will just be a beautiful but callous and empty-headed maniquin.
Everything that we had been through passed away as we continue to live and evolve until our time will come to pass away too.
We all had been through a lot of situations in life, some situations call for celebrations and are full of excitement, other situations are sadness and loss but they all pass away.
Some experiences make us honorable and dignified, others are embarrassing and a disgrace. These are experiences in life that all pass by.
Some friends and love ones leave this life ahead of us. They had been into lots of happiness and joy in this life. They had possess material good and had achieved success in life in their own rights. They also had experienced a lot of problems that are sometimes, if not often, seem unbearable; but everything passes by including each of them.
Living in my "here and now."
This phrase from the poem, "The Miller of the Dee" and I quote, "...I envy nobody and nobody envies me..." is worth pondering.
If we live in the "here and now" life could be meaningful and worth-living.
What are the things to do in the "here and now" that can make life meaningful?
Living in the "here and now" means appreciating our value as a person in a moment by moment basis.
All things come and go, all experiences pass by, people come and and people go,
Then what is left with us? with you?
My good friend and colleague, Ma'am Semeramis Bamba, died of lung cancer last year. She is 5 years younger than me. She was a brilliant English Professor. She had everything, 2 beautiful grandchildren, three beautiful and educated daughters, a prestigious position in school...the list could go on. She never smoked and was a perfectionist in all her ways...and she was near to perfection in her looks and beauty...such a waste for a brilliant and beautiful human.
Two days before she died, Ma'am Veron and I visited her in the hospital and her last words to us, to me specifically...
"...Ma'am Jenny, you are my source of inspiration when difficulties come...but you smoke and never have cancer whereas I am careful in my food and I never smoke but look at me; you are carefree, you get angry when you want, you laugh when you feel good, you have the presence of mind and an assertiveness that anyone can wonder, you love and you are loved...you never suppress your emotions and that makes you significant from the rest of us...I wish I could turn back the time so I can live in my here and now full of freedom rather than full of restrictions and plans that never work."
I never realized how I score with my colleagues but from the mouth of a dying dear friend.
I consider life as just a dream.
My every here and now is a dream;
Today is the manifestation of what I dream yesterday;
I don't know exactly what tomorrow is;
But I know that the beautiful dream I dream today is the beautiful tomorrow that would come my way.
So, my "here and now is a beautiful dream." That kind of dream that would be my tomorrow's "here and now."
I am just a passerby in this life...the life that is just a dream; like a dream that fades like bubbles, is what life and everything in it, is all about.